When I’m not writing, you can probably find me singing or playing the piano or doing something musical. I am addicted to music. I’ve taken piano my whole life, sung in choirs my whole life, and actually sung all over the world (well, kind of: Austria, Slovakia, South Korea) with my high school jazz ensemble.
So I know that performers practice. In fact, I’m afraid of calculating all the hours I’ve spent at rehearsals because the number would be insane. Take the last few months, for example, as my college’s music department prepared for a monster-huge series of Christmas concerts (three sold-out nights to over 2500 people): my typical rehearsal week averages around 8 hours of choir per week, not including random weekend concerts, so figure five weeks of that plus the final week, which featured a couple 3 hour rehearsals…
That’s a LOT of practicing.
Except when you’re standing on stage, looking over a full orchestra into an audience of 800+ people (standing room only) and three TV cameras — every second of practice counts. Every second of practice counts as melodies and harmonies and rhythms and handbells and violins and altos and basses mix together to not only make music, but also to communicate a message of peace.
And of course, as I was sitting in one of those 3 hour rehearsals, I was thinking about writing… and how writing relates to singing… Then in our first concert, something clicked as I nailed the alto line on the finale of Vaughan William’s Dona Nobis Pachem (only because of all that practice) — as writers, we practice, too.
We practice by writing countless rough drafts (maybe countless trunked novels, too), by reading other novels, by studying craft and technique, by exploring AW, by following blogs, by sending queries. And maybe we don’t want to tally up all the hours we spend practicing. In the end, though, all that hard work is SO worth it once we reach the performance (getting an agent? publisher? hitting the shelves? book tour?). Because without all that practice, our performance would be a flop.
So as you write and read and study, revel in your practice. The performance will come; for the moment, your job is to prepare.
Goodness, I sound like my conductor…